Nfld. & Labrador

Don't delay if you have $100K: Titanic expert says dive now before it's too late

New images from the wreck of the Titanic show a lot has changed since Larry Daley dived down to it in 2003, and he says next year's planned private mission comes at a good time.

'It's a wreck that's very sick,' says Larry Daley

Larry Daley has been passionate about the Titanic for decades. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

New images of the wreck of the Titanic off Newfoundland's coast are said to show a disintegrating burial ground, one Larry Daley is sad to see. 

"It's a wreck that's very sick. It's gone from a deteriorating wreck on the seafloor to something that looks like it's ill," said Daley. 

Well-versed in all things RMS Titanic, Daley has been involved with expeditions to the shipwreck since 1998. 

Daley even has his own red rusticle, an icicle-like rust formation, which was taken by a scientist during an early expedition to the vessel more than 3,800 metres below the surface of the North Atlantic. 

"Actually in 1998, when the rusticles were really, you know, kinda getting under the microscope of the scientists around the world." 

Red rusticles from the wreck of the Titanic were taken by scientists in 1998. (Submitted by Larry Daley)

That's significant, because 4K images of the site released last week by Atlantic Productions show those rusticles have now turned grey — likely due to particles having settled on top of them.

One expert predicts the Titanic — which sank after hitting an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912, taking the lives of more than 1,500 people — will disintegrate within 25 years. 

Daley, who dived to the Titanic himself in 2003, said the high-quality footage taken by diver Victor Vescovo gave the first "really true picture" of it in 14 years. 

"It's almost like CSI Titanic," he said. 

'Gone forever'

Daley said one thing that particularly stuck out to him about the new images was the captain's cabin, which had always been a popular spot with divers because it was "pretty incredible to see."

"The porcelain tub was in perfect condition, the bathtub was there, the taps were there, the copper pipes, the chandelier hanging from the ceiling and stuff like that," he said. 

"Now all of that is gone, that collapsed," Daley said. "Gone forever, you'll never see that again."

This is a look inside the Titanic shipwreck as it was. (Submitted by Larry Daley)

Daley is the logistics co-ordinator of a U.S.-based company OceanGate's private dive down to the shipwreck, for which "mission specialists" can pay over $100,000 to see it first-hand in 2020.

He said those participating will get "bang for their buck" when they head out from St. John's, because they're "gonna see some really cool stuff."

"The tourists are gonna go down and go, 'Wow, like we're a couple of feet from this,'" said Daley. 

Evan Edinger, a professor at Memorial University in St. John's, says that as the wreck of the Titanic disintegrates, it becomes a question of what to do with the burial site. (Krissy Holmes/CBC)

"Ten years' time, who knows, you might go down there and see a total collapse of the main decks and you won't really get to appreciate the ship as you would see it now."

As fascination with the Titanic remains strong more than 100 years later, deep sea scientist Evan Edinger said it's "because it's the ultimate story of hubris, the unsinkable ship."

Listen to The St. John's Morning Show's full item on the Titanic's status:

Everybody who works on the ocean knows there's no such thing as an unsinkable ship," said the professor at Memorial University in St. John's. 

"I think now the question is, what do you do about a burial site at sea? Where all these people lost their lives, and how do you treat that site with respect, and still go about answering scientific questions about it." 

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With files from The St. John's Morning Show